Twitter to make new pointless change -- 140 to be 164 (sometimes)

Twitter honcho Jack Dorsey yet again rearranging Titanic’s deckchairs. How is adding 24 characters going to help?

Twitter 140
Credit: Brian Solis (cc:by)

Twitter to loosen its 140-character maximum, by a tiny bit -- in future, it won't count media or links. At least, so says @sarahfrier's single, secret source.

[Developing story: Updated 8:21 am PT with more comment]

Such a change would give us a whole extra 24 characters to play with (or 23, if you neglect the separating whitespace). Why all the fuss? How about fixing the more important Twitter problems, such as editing tweets and nuking spam?

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. They're not too long, natch.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers compose slightly longer tweets. Not to mention: Dreaming of Phonelines

What’s the craic? Sarah Frier whispered with a person familiar with the matter...who asked not to be named: making a major shift in how it counts characters. ... In the next two weeks, [it will] stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit. ... The company declined to comment.

The company earlier this year considered raising the limit to as many as 10,000. [But this] may encourage users to add more media to their posts.

Why should you care, I hear you ask? Caitlin McGarry answers Twitter is on the right track:

Twitter might be finally making a change everyone can get on board with. ... Photos, videos, and links [each use] up 23 characters...which makes it that much more difficult to provide context.

An that's important, right? Danny Sullivan makes maximum use of his 140 budget:

By not counting links & photos...Twitter effectively will turn tweets into captions. Smart.

More room to tweet is nice but a...goal for 2016 should be to let us edit tweets. ... Facebook and Instagram do it.

But why now? Robinson Meyer debunks the famous constraint:

Twitter began as a one-to-many SMS broadcast service. ... By keeping tweets under 140, Twitter could [add] a 20-character username...within the 160-character SMS text limit.

A tweet as an entry in a database already far exceeds 140 characters. ... Tweets tote all sorts of metadata as they travel around. ... With this change, Twitter will...move the main content of a tweet...into its metadata.

[But] there’s been a sense for many years that the company doesn’t really know how to continue to advance. [This] won’t fix Twitter’s core problems. ... Profitability still eludes the world’s third-largest social network.

Remember, it's still a rumor, from a single source. So it could be bogus. What are the chances, Chance Miller? [You're fired -Ed.]

Specific details remain somewhat unclear. ... The move comes following...Dorsey saying earlier...that the company has been looking into new share more text. [He] said the [140] limit was “a good allows for of-the-moment.”

What do you think? ... I think it allows for just enough additional room to...add commentary to links and articles.

Update: Will it help? Here's what Duncan Riley thinks-No surprise:

The not entirely unexpected. [It] comes at a time where...Twitter continues to struggle with engagement.

The change...though will unlikely even be noticed by the vast majority of Twitter users. ... A little bit of extra room...does not make a renaissance cometh.

Is this the beginning of the end of Twitter? Heed the wise words of OpenSourced:

I have observed a tendency in all business. After having a huge success with something, [they] try to change it, and change again, till they kill it. I suppose it's a consequence of the human inability for just...letting things be.

Rome taught me patience and assiduous application to detail. Virtues which temper the boldness of great, general views.

And Finally…

It's the 1980s all over again
[WARNING! Contains scenes of tobacco use, bad dancing, and ridiculous hair]

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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